Canada crude-Synthetic at 6-month high before Suncor outage

Mon Apr 1, 2013 6:08pm EDT
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* May light synthetic quoted at $9.50/bbl above WTI

* Suncor oil sands turnaround expected shortly

* WCS for May $14.75/bbl under WTI, despite pipeline outage

CALGARY, Alberta, April 1 (Reuters) - Canadian light synthetic crude prices climbed to their highest levels in six months on Monday as Suncor Energy Inc prepared to take a major processing unit at its Alberta oil sands operation down for seven weeks of maintenance.

Heavy crude prices also maintained their recent strength despite the shutdown of Exxon Mobil Corp's 90,000 barrel a day Pegasus pipeline in the southern United States following a rupture late Friday.

Light synthetic for May delivery last sold for $9.50 a barrel over benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude, up $2.50 from Thursday, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers.

That was its highest since October 2.

Synthetic supplies in May will be constrained by the planned maintenance at the 100,000 barrel per day Upgrader 1 unit at Suncor's northern Alberta project site, which is expected to begin shortly. The overall oil sands plant normally produces up to 350,000 bpd.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for May was quoted at $14.75 a barrel under WTI, compared with a settlement of $14.50 a barrel on Thursday.   Continued...